Jen Weiss is the director of Youth Speaks NY. She is co-author of Brave New Voices.
Lolo wakes up at 5:30 in the morning while the sky is still dark. He jets out of his apartment in the Castle Hill section of the Bronx by 6:30 and hops the 6 train southbound to 125th to catch the 4 train northbound to Mosholu Parkway, getting to his high school in the Bronx by about 7:45. If he gets there any later, the lines outside his school prevent him from landing in his first period class by 8:15. If hes late, even by a minute, he sits in the lunchroom for the entirety of first period. Three days out of five, Lolo is late for first period.
he Bringing the Noise youth open mic doesnt start until 6 pm, but already teenagers swarm the sidewalk outside the venerable Nuyorican Poets Café.
To quote Whitney Houston, I believe the children are our future. And after sitting through two grin-inducing, inspirational performances choreographed by dancers between the ages of 6 and 23, I believe this even more, particularly when contemplating a new generation of movement creators.